Saturday, January 2, 2010

Glowing...or something...

I haven’t written very much about being pregnant on the blog. It’s not because I haven’t had a particular experience, or that it hasn’t been all-consuming. It’s just that, when someone is pregnant, especially for the first time, it seems to be all they talk about (me included.) I just think that people must get tired of hearing a woman talk about being pregnant, especially since millions of women have done it for thousands and thousands of years.

Overall, I have really enjoyed being pregnant. I love the almost constant kicks and nudges that I feel. I love watching elbows, knees, and feet move across my belly. I love the way I look pregnant, I don’t feel fat or unattractive…just a bit larger and more ungainly than usual. I love that I’m doing something really important just by taking care of myself. And I love knowing that the love of my life and I have created a little person that will be a source of joy and hope to us and hopefully to the world as well.

On the other hand, I don’t like having limitations. I don’t like saying, “I’m lightheaded, I’m just going to sit here for a bit” (a consequence of the low iron). I don’t like having to eat just because it’s time or because I don’t feel well. I don’t like being so hot at night that I have to sleep with the fan directly on me and can’t touch my husband or any covers. I certainly don’t like having to excuse myself to the bathroom every 30 minutes. In my head, I want so badly to be the strongest pregnant woman that ever lived. And that has not been my experience. If anything, it’s been very humbling to be pregnant and have to go slower. To sit down more often. To sleep more. To stop for snack breaks. All of those things that are permissible because you’re pregnant, and which make me crazy to have to rely upon. I’ve had to get over it. Probably has been really good for me. I’ll have to get over it again when I have a newborn and need all the help I can get from anyone who will give it to me. Good times.

These last several weeks have felt like a scene out of a movie for me. I’ve never felt so content, relaxed, and happy. I’ve gotten over needing to apologize for being a bit behind the 8 ball. I laugh easily and am enamored with my wonderful husband. It’s not that I’m not usually happy, it’s just that joy doesn’t always bubble up this freely. I feel like I’ve given myself a break. A big one. One that I probably should’ve given myself years ago. And I like it here in break-land. This Type A/B Personality may have just crossed into a Type B-. For awhile at least.

Will I feel this good after the baby is born? Will it be this easy to laugh at tomorrow, forever? Will I feel fraught with worry as soon as there’s another little person to care for? I’m just trying to keep in mind that while I may very well have stumbled upon a change of mindset, I could feel very different in a few weeks. Maybe I can just remind myself of how much nicer it is here in 37 weeks pregnant land.

And they said I would be miserable. Depends on how you look at it. Dizzy, hungry, have-to-pee. Sleepy. Achy. And never happier.

Amazing Provision

(Sorry! Once again, my pictures REFUSED to load. Arggggg!)

One of the things that Jake and I love about Overland Missions is that we often have the opportunity to sit under amazing men and women of God and just LISTEN. Our directors are linked with some incredible people who have just been there, seen it, and done it…twice. We love getting the opportunity to gather at the annual conference (which we will miss this year ☹) or sit in on the missionary training courses at the base and just glean from those who have walked the walk for more years that we’ve even been alive.

One of those people is a pastor named Vaughn Jarrold. Vaughn pastors a Vineyard Church in New York State. He and his wife ministered all over the world as missionaries, prophets, traveling evangelists, revivalists…etc. for YEARS before they settled down to pastor the church. They have five children. All five were born on a different continent.

Pastor Vaughn commands respect because of who he is and the anointing he carries with him. He doesn’t even have to open his mouth to get offered a hot cup of coffee or a comfortable chair. You just WANT to serve him. I first noticed this as we’ve gathered with in churches and in Christian circles. But I can’t help but wonder if he wouldn’t walk into a bar and get the same treatment.

Okay, so he is a 6 foot 5 Englishman with huge shoulders and a shock of red hair. Not typically someone you’d mess with in a dark alley. But his size is negligible when compared to the message that he speaks from experience.

This is one of the stories that I carry with me:

Vaughn and his wife were walking to Israel because they felt like it was where they were supposed to be. They were brand new Christians, had just gotten married, and had nothing to their name. They had been traveling the U.S. together when they really committed their lives to their Lord and decided that God wanted them in Israel. They had no money and no resources, so they decided to get there anyway they could.

I don’t know all of the details, but I know that they were so broke that Vaughn got angry with Wendy for writing a postcard to her mom. They couldn’t afford the postage. They slept in a tent that they would put up anywhere they could and ate what they could manage to get ahold of. One early morning they were walking into a city. It was cold and they hadn’t eaten breakfast. Vaughnn said to Wendy, almost jokingly, “Ya know what I could go for? A couple of hardboiled eggs.” They were his favorite breakfast, and a treat he hadn’t had in awhile.

Vaughn speaks about the difficulty of having so little that you start to question God: “Are you really providing for me?” “I can’t even EAT when I want to. How is this provision?” Of course, it adds another dynamic when you have a wife or family to provide for. It’s one thing to suffer yourself, but to watch your family suffer with you is heartbreaking to bear. You question yourself and the Lord and wonder why He would ever call you to do something so crazy and uncomfortable.

A couple of blocks later, Vaughn and Wendy decided to sit for awhile on a bench. Vaughnn noticed that there was a paper bag folded up in the corner of the bench. He reached for it and opened it up. And burst into tears. The paper bag held six, still warm, hard boiled eggs.

When Vaughn told that story to my AMT Class, I watched the tears streaming down his cheeks. But before he even got to the end of the story, I was choking back my own. I was crying by the time he told us that he had a hankering for boiled eggs. Because I knew what the ending was going to be. I KNEW that those eggs would be some where, waiting for him to find them.

They always are.

Vaughn ended his story with this Scripture: “I was young, and now I am old, and I have never seen the righteous forsaken, or their seed beg for bread.”

I don’t know if I’ve ever connected more immediately to a passage in the Bible than this one. My heart screams out to God: You mean, NEVER? In my WHOLE LIFE? I won’t be forsaken? I won’t be forgotten about? And my children won’t be forgotten about? And there will always be boiled eggs?

Yep. Always.